Dreambound
Blog

Emergency Medical Technician vs Respiratory Therapist

Emergency Medical Technician vs Respiratory Therapist

In the field of healthcare, there are various career paths that individuals can pursue. Two such careers are Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Respiratory Therapist. While both professions are focused on providing medical care to patients, there are distinct differences between the two. In this blog post, we will explore the roles and responsibilities of EMTs and Respiratory Therapists, the required education and training, as well as the career outlook and salary potential for each profession.

Article continues after recommendations

Recommended for you

Introduction

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Respiratory Therapists are both essential members of the healthcare team. They work in different capacities and often collaborate to provide comprehensive care to patients. EMTs are responsible for providing immediate medical attention to patients in emergency situations, whereas Respiratory Therapists specialize in treating patients with respiratory disorders. Let's take a closer look at the roles and responsibilities of each profession.

What is an Emergency Medical Technician?

Emergency Medical Technicians, also known as EMTs, are healthcare professionals who are trained to provide immediate medical care to patients in emergency situations. They are often the first responders at the scene of an accident or medical emergency. EMTs are trained to assess patients, administer basic life support, and transport patients to the hospital for further treatment.

What is a Respiratory Therapist?

Respiratory Therapists are healthcare professionals who specialize in the treatment and management of patients with respiratory disorders. They work closely with physicians to develop and implement treatment plans for patients with conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and pneumonia. Respiratory Therapists are skilled in operating and maintaining respiratory equipment, administering medications, and providing patient education on respiratory health.

Difference between an Emergency Medical Technician and Respiratory Therapist

While both EMTs and Respiratory Therapists are involved in patient care, there are several key differences between the two professions:

  • Scope of practice: EMTs primarily focus on providing immediate medical care in emergency situations, such as administering CPR, controlling bleeding, and stabilizing fractures. Respiratory Therapists, on the other hand, specialize in the treatment and management of respiratory disorders, including administering breathing treatments, conducting pulmonary function tests, and managing ventilators.

  • Setting: EMTs often work in ambulances, responding to emergency calls and providing care at the scene of accidents or medical emergencies. They may also work in hospitals, assisting with patient transport and providing care in the emergency department. Respiratory Therapists typically work in hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities, where they provide specialized respiratory care to patients with chronic and acute respiratory conditions.

  • Collaborations: EMTs work closely with other emergency medical personnel, such as paramedics and firefighters, to provide immediate care to patients. They also collaborate with healthcare professionals in the hospital setting, such as nurses and physicians. Respiratory Therapists collaborate with physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to develop and implement treatment plans for patients with respiratory disorders.

Emergency Medical Technician vs Respiratory Therapist: Job Description

The job description for an Emergency Medical Technician and a Respiratory Therapist can vary greatly. Here is an overview of the primary responsibilities of each profession:

Emergency Medical Technician:

  • Responding to emergency calls and providing immediate medical care to patients at the scene of accidents or medical emergencies
  • Assessing patients' conditions and providing basic life support, such as administering CPR and controlling bleeding
  • Stabilizing fractures, immobilizing patients, and preparing them for transport to the hospital
  • Communicating with healthcare professionals in the hospital setting to provide a report on the patient's condition and treatment provided

Respiratory Therapist:

  • Assessing patients with respiratory disorders and developing individualized treatment plans
  • Administering breathing treatments, such as oxygen therapy and aerosol medications
  • Conducting pulmonary function tests to evaluate lung function
  • Managing ventilators and other respiratory equipment
  • Providing patient education on respiratory health and self-care techniques

Emergency Medical Technician vs Respiratory Therapist: Education and Training

The education and training requirements for becoming an Emergency Medical Technician and a Respiratory Therapist differ significantly. Here is an overview of the typical educational pathways for each profession:

Article continues after recommendations

More recommendations for you

Emergency Medical Technician:

  • EMT-Basic: Completion of a state-approved EMT-Basic training program, which typically takes around 6 months to complete. This program includes classroom instruction, hands-on skills training, and clinical experience.
  • EMT-Intermediate: Completion of an additional training program, which builds upon the skills learned in the EMT-Basic program. This training typically takes around 1 year to complete and includes more advanced medical procedures.
  • EMT-Paramedic: Completion of a comprehensive training program, which can take 1-2 years to complete. Paramedics have the highest level of training among EMTs and are able to administer medications, interpret EKGs, and perform advanced medical procedures.

Respiratory Therapist:

  • Associate's degree: Completion of an accredited respiratory therapy program, which typically takes 2 years to complete. These programs include a combination of classroom instruction, laboratory work, and clinical rotations.
  • Bachelor's degree: Some Respiratory Therapists choose to pursue a Bachelor's degree in respiratory therapy, which typically takes 4 years to complete. A Bachelor's degree may offer additional career opportunities and advancement potential.

Both EMTs and Respiratory Therapists must also obtain state licensure or certification, which typically involves passing an exam.

Emergency Medical Technician vs Respiratory Therapist: Career Outlook and Salary

The career outlook and salary potential for EMTs and Respiratory Therapists can vary based on factors such as location and experience. Here is an overview of the career outlook and median salary for each profession:

Emergency Medical Technician:

  • Career Outlook: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of EMTs is projected to grow 6 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for EMTs is expected to increase as the population ages and as more individuals require emergency medical services.
  • Median Salary: The median annual wage for EMTs was $35,400 in May 2020, according to the BLS.

Respiratory Therapist:

  • Career Outlook: The BLS projects that employment of Respiratory Therapists will grow 19 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for Respiratory Therapists is expected to increase due to the aging population and the prevalence of respiratory diseases such as COPD and asthma.
  • Median Salary: The median annual wage for Respiratory Therapists was $63,950 in May 2020, according to the BLS.

Final Thoughts

Both Emergency Medical Technicians and Respiratory Therapists play crucial roles in the healthcare system. EMTs provide immediate medical care in emergency situations, while Respiratory Therapists specialize in treating patients with respiratory disorders. The choice between these two professions ultimately depends on an individual's interests, skills, and career goals. Whether you prefer the fast-paced environment of emergency medicine or the specialized care of respiratory therapy, both professions offer rewarding career opportunities in the healthcare field.

Dreambound's programs are accessible in various locations. To gather more information about these two vocations, check out:

Pia Yapjoco
Written by
Pia Yapjoco

Pia Yapjoco is part of the school growth and sales team at Dreambound. She helps facilitate school partnerships that expand educational opportunities for aspiring students in allied health and other trades. Beyond work, she curates her pup's Instagram, hunts for hidden coffee gems, and escapes into cozy gaming.

Share this post: